John Dickerson on the GOP debate Going into last night's Republican debate, many wondered whether Governor Rick Perry would "shoot from the hip." In fact, "he used both hands and took careful aim," writes Slate's John Dickerson, going after Mitt Romney on jobs, Ron Paul on supporting Reagan, as well as Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and President Obama. As the front runner, Dickerson argues, Perry had to demonstrate why he was on top. He arrived with his own message as well as "opposition research about his opponents," and presented himself as a "strong tell-it-like-it-is candidate." He may have caused himself future problems with his double-down strategy on Social Security, standing by his characterization that the program is a "Ponzi scheme." Romney quickly defended the program, saying it was important, ("by which he meant, Voters of Florida, please elect me." Dickerson notes.) Both Romney and Huntsman said Perry could be unelectable. Dickerson applauds Romney for showing experience when asked to criticize Perry for his HPV vaccination policy in Texas. "He said he assumed Perry's 'heart was in the right place.' He then turned to attack Obama. It showed discipline, generosity, and élan gained from experience." Regarding the rest of the GOP nominees, Dickerson says they will not be elected, though they can still shape the tone of the race. Huntsman "came alive" last night, but probably not enough to make a dent in the Perry vs. Romney contest this has become.
Joe Biden on competing with China Much of the debate on China's rise has remained the same in the years since then-Senator Joseph Biden traveled there in 1979. "Then, as now, there were concerns about what a growing China meant to America and the world," writes Vice President Biden in The New York Times. "Some here and in the region see China's growth as a threat, entertaining visions of a cold-war-style rivalry or great-power confrontation." Biden rejects the fears. "I remain convinced that a successful China can make our country more prosperous, not less," he says. "On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities," and after meeting extensively with China's vice president (and heir apparent), he says the Chinese agree. Americans often focus on our imports from China, but often we forget that China imported $100 billion of American goods and services. This will continue, as Chinese leaders know they will transition from an export economy to consumption and services. And even as we compete in some respects with China, we must keep its economic rise in perspective, Biden says. "America's gross domestic product, almost $15 trillion, is still more than twice as large as China's; our per-capita G.D.P., above $47,000, is 11 times China's." China only holds about 8 percent of America's outstanding treasuries. Americans hold 70 percent, so claims that China "owns" American debt are false. Above all, America will thrive in the competition because of our ability to innovate, he writes. Our political and educational system encourage us not to "accept orthodoxy" but to debate and improve it. To compete, China will have to open their society to human rights and creative minds. "Some may warn of America’s demise, but I'm not among them. And let me reassure you: based on my time in China, neither are the Chinese."